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By-Laws of the HOTRAK club
This section describes the processes and procedures that govern the operation of the club

This page was last updated on July 13h, 2015
Table of Contents
1.     Name and Logo
2.     Purpose
3.     Membership

4.     Dues and Fees
5.     Officers and Duties
6.     Operating Year, Annual General Meeting and Elections
7.     Executive Committee
8.     Modules and Standards
9.     Operations
10.   Revisions to the By-Laws
11.   Unacceptable Behaviour
12.   Annex to the  By-Laws

1. Name and Logo

1.1   The official name of the Club is  “ Ottawa Valley HOTRAK “

        The club may also be referred to as “HOTRAK” or  “OVHOTRAK”

1.2   The Club Logo will be the black and white and colour versions as found on the club website at http://www.hotrak.ca/Members

2. Purpose

2.    Purpose  The purpose of the Club is to operate HO scale model trains on a modular railway.

3.       Membership

3.1 There are five categories of Membership in OV HOTRAK:
       A)    Member
       B)    Associate Member
       C)    Probationary Member
       D)    Youth Member
      E)     Student Member

3.2   A Member is entitled to participate in all activities of the club including voting on changes to the Club by-laws, voting on the annual budget and other financial plans exceeding the Executives’ authority,                and voting on Probationary Members consideration as Members.

         Members may independently operate trains on club layouts subject to successful qualification as an engineer journeyman.

         A Member pays the annual member dues as proscribed in Annex A.

         Participation in set-up and take down of layouts is expected.

         Members will have successfully completed the period of mutual assessment as a Probationary Member and have been offered the opportunity to become a member upon a secret vote by members off              list conducted by the Membership Co-ordinator.

3.3   An Associate member is a non-voting member of the Club who retains their Club engineering status, their place on the email lists, and their decoder numbers on the locomotive registry.

         Associate members may operate at a maximum of two HOTRAK set-ups per Club year upon payment of the per session operating fee as proscribed in Annex A, and may participate in any Club clinics            and social events.

         An Associate member pays the annual associate dues as proscribed in Annex A.

         An Associate member must have been a Member in good standing for at least two years prior to a change in status or upon approval of the Executive.

         An Associate member may return to Member status upon application to the Executive and upon payment of the proscribed annual member dues. No new initiation fee will be required.

3.4   A Probationary Member is a temporary membership to facilitate the assessment of the prospective member by current club Members to determine his/her potential to contribute to the club’s values and           on-going success.

        Probationary Members have no voting rights.

        To become a Probationary Member, an individual aged at least 19 years of age, completes an Application for Membership providing relevant information on the individual’s model railroading interests              and background and skills to be brought to the club.

         A Probationary Member pays Operating Session Fees as listed in Annex A

          Upon the first Executive Committee Meeting following receipt of the Application for Membership, the Executive shall discuss the application and either approve or not the application.

          If approved, the applicant becomes a Probationary Member. Probationary members are encouraged to start the Apprenticeship Program at the next operating session.

          After successful completion of participation in three operating sessions, the Membership Co-ordinator will present the applicant’s name for a consideration by all Members by secret vote conducted                   through the Club member list with members responding directly and only to the Membership Co-ordinator.

         The result of the vote will be reported to the Executive and the Probationary Member informed of the results. On successfully passing the vote, the Member will be required to pay the Initiation Fee listed in           Annex A and the balance of the Club dues for the current year, less the Operating Session Fees already paid.
          The start date for probation is flexible - generally the first or second HOTRAK operating session the person has attended.

3.5   A Youth Member is an individual aged 16 through 18, and is a non-voting membership. Youth Members pay annual dues at the prescribed Youth rate in Annex A, but on becoming 19, are required to pay            the Member Initiation Fee and Member fee and will become a Member.

3.6    A Student Member is an individual up to 25 years of age who is in full-time attendance at a recognized educational institution. Student Members pay reduced dues at the student rate as listed in Annex A.

3.7   The Executive (normally in consultation with Members) may revoke membership under extreme circumstances. Examples of extreme circumstances include failure to pay fees when due or violation of the          club’s Unacceptable Behaviour Policy.

4.         Dues and Fees

4.1     Dues are charged to members in accordance with the Annex to these By-Laws and are payable at the beginning of each fiscal year.  Dues for persons joining the club in mid-year are pro rated.

4.2     There is an Initiation Fee as described in the Annex to these By-Laws which is payable upon becoming a Member.

4.3     The Club may levy an “Operating Fee” on those members attending a set-up as further described in the Annex to these By-Laws.

4.4     If a member ceases to be active in the Club for an extended period of time (typically 3 months or more) because of health, education, or work-related reasons, the Executive Committee may vote to waive the dues that would normally have been paid during that period.

4.5     Non-payment of dues for a period of six months or more shall be cause for a review by the Executive Committee of a person’s membership status.  Reinstatement of membership after such a period might require the payment of an additional Initiation Fee and/or all outstanding Dues.

5.      Officers and Duties

The Executive Committee normally consists of the members who fill the following offices:

5.1     President: Overall co-ordination and Club leadership, etc.

5.2     Vice-President: Back-up to President, miscellaneous tasks, etc. The VP will act as a backup for the Set-up Co-ordinator.

5.3     Treasurer: Finances and budgeting.

5.4     Secretary: Meeting minutes, keeper of important documents, decisions and By-Laws, etc.

5.5     Chief of Operations: Planning freight, yard and passenger operations for set-ups, and producing waybills, etc. and managing the decoder and loco number list. (This position needs Assistants/Back-up.)

5.6     Road Foreman: Club standards, physical and electronic/electrical aspects of set-ups, testing/Club acceptance of modules for use in Club set-ups, enforcement of standards at set-ups, trouble-shooting, review of lay-out design, etc. (This position needs two Assistants/Back-up: one for electronics; and one for the physical aspects of set-ups.)

5.7     Membership and Communications Co-ordinator: Membership and other inquiries, Website, website or other Club articles, logo, signage, membership approval procedures, membership list, etc.

5.8     Set-up Co-ordinator: Create and maintain a set-up schedule for the operating season (every 4-6 weeks or so); Review and OK schedule with the Exec and membership; Liaise with host site contacts; Overall co-ordination for each set-up to ensure that problems are dealt with in a timely manner; Arrange for layout design, Set-up Foreman, and Tear down Foreman; Prepare Traffic Superintendent schedule for the set-up; Co-ordinate other duties as described in a Set-up Check-List; Manage the storage of Club modules and any privately owned modules that are stored with the Club modules. (Duties under this officer may be delegated.)

5.9     Events Co-ordinator: Co-ordinate clinics, workshops, and Club social events.

5.10    Past President: (non-elected position for continuity) conducting Club elections, miscellaneous tasks, as appropriate.

5.11    At the discretion of the incoming President and with the agreement of the Executive Committee, a single executive member may hold more than one of these offices.

6.         Operating Year, Annual General meeting and Elections

6.1     The operating year of the Club shall be from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

6.2     The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Club shall be held in May or June of each year.

6.3     Elections for the Executive Committee shall be held at the AGM and the Executive shall take office as of July 1 of that year.

6.4     The Club's Fiscal Year shall be the same as the Club's operating year.

6.5     The Annual Club Budget for the following year will be presented to, and approved by, the membership at the Annual General Meeting.

7.         Executive Committee

7.1     A quorum at an Executive Meeting shall be 50% of the Executive Committee members. 

7.2     The powers of the Executive Committee include:

a)            Expenditure Authority: Up to $150 per purchase without reference to the Club and up to $300 per purchase if the item(s) is (are) mentioned in a Club Budget approved by Membership.

b)            Membership: Acceptance of candidates to become Probationary Members and acceptance of Probationary Members to become Members in accordance with clauses 7.1 and 7.4 above.

c)            Module Construction: Approval or rejection of the design submitted by a member for module construction for use in Club set-ups. This authority may be delegated to a sub-committee chosen by the Executive Committee.

d)            Compliance with Club Standards: Final decisions on any questions of compliance with Club standards for modules, locomotives rolling stock, etc. and resulting actions (work required, module banned from set-ups, etc.)

e)            Disposal of Club Assets: The Executive may decide to consult with the membership, if it so desires.

f)       Set-up dates and venues: Final decision after consulting with membership.

g)            Other Business: Other Club business of a day-to-day nature, which would not appear to warrant consultation with the membership.

8.         Modules and Standards

8.1      Before construction, proposed new modules should be designed to scale on paper or computer, and the plan forwarded to the Chairman of the Design Approval Group.  The Chairman will forward the design to the Ops Group for comment and discussion and, after appropriate feedback and any modifications, to the Design Approval Group for final comment and/or approval.

8.2      All requirements for module design, approval, construction and testing are in the Club Standards obtainable from the Road Foreman or the Club website.

8.3      Any Member may sponsor a proposal for amending the Standards at any time during the year. Proposals are to be submitted to the Standards Group, which is comprised of the Road Foreman and any interested members.

8.4     The Standards Group will examine and discuss the proposal and, in consultation with the Sponsor, determine the merit of the proposal. The Standards Group will work together with the Sponsor to draft an amendment and to develop a list of pros and cons of the amendment.

8.5     The Standards Group will brief the broader membership about pros/cons as well as the amended wording of the standard. Where possible, a physical example/demonstration or photo(s) of the proposal should be provided to the wider audience. The Standards Group may use pertinent feedback to develop the final wording of the amendment.

8.6     The Executive shall publish the final Proposal to the membership via e-mail through the Membership e-mail box A review period of three weeks will be available for members to express their views in support or against the proposal.

8.7     Following the review period, voting will be conducted via e-mail (for a period of two weeks) using the membership e-mail box; only votes cast this way will be counted.

8.8     The success of a Proposal shall be determined by a majority of two-thirds (2/3) of votes cast.

8.9      If the Standards Group and/or the Executive decide that a proposal does not have merit, then the Sponsor has the option to add his/her proposal to the agenda of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for open discussion. 

8.10  The Executive will accept any proposals tabled and accepted by the members at the AGM and the validation process will start at step 8.6 of this procedure.

9.         Operations

9.1     All operations rules that govern how layouts are set-up and operated are defined in this document in the chapters entitled “Set-up Manual” and “Operating the Layout”.

9.2     The following operating positions are allowed to operate trains without supervision at the following times:

a)    Engineer - at any time

b)    Journeyman - when dispatching is not in force

10.     Revision to the By-laws

10.1     Any Member may make a motion (the Mover), seconded by another Member, to amend these bylaws.

10.2     The proposal for a motion shall be sent to the Executive via e-mail to the Executive mailbox and be clearly identified in the subject line as a motion to amend the bylaws.

10.3     After consultation with the Mover it will be the responsibility of the Executive to provide due notice to the Membership of the proposal. Due notice shall be deemed to be the publication by the Executive of the text of the proposed amendment(s), the name of the Mover, Seconder, and the date, time, and place at which the vote will take place, via the Membership e-mail box, a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to the AGM.),

10.4     The motion shall be voted on only at the AGM and shall pass given a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the attending Members in good standing, provided that due notice has been given.


      Unacceptable behaviour involving HOTRAK members is any offensive, hurtful or malicious comment or conduct by a member towards another member or guest that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. It includes any behaviour which is perceived by a member or guest to deny them their self-esteem, dignity or respect and is found to be offensive, embarrassing and humiliating. It may be verbal or physical and may be one incident or a series of incidents.

If any member of the Executive observes a situation that he or she believes may be leading to an incident of unacceptable behaviour, the Executive will inform the offending member that his or her conduct is approaching the unacceptable and he or she should apologize immediately. If the offender refuses to do so, or if the incident has already escalated to unacceptable behavior, the Executive may revoke the offender’s membership or impose a lesser penalty as the situation warrants.

If any member observes a similar situation, he or she should step in to advise the offender that that his or her conduct is approaching the unacceptable and that the offender should apologize immediately. If the offender refuses to do so, or if the apology is obviously not sincere, a member of the Executive should be advised of the incident.
In those cases where the incident was not observed by a member of the Executive, or the unacceptable behaviour is a series of incidents, the offended member should advise a member of the Executive as soon as possible.

The Executive will then investigate the incident or series of incidents by seeking other members who may have witnessed the incident or incidents and if the Executive believes that unacceptable behavior has occurred, the Executive may temporarily suspend the offender’s Membership privileges or revoke the offender’s Membership.

If reasonable doubt remains after the Executive has investigated, both parties will be advised and the offender warned that his or her behaviour is deemed unacceptable by the offended member and any future incidents may result in the offender’s membership being revoked.

12.    Annex

12.1     The purpose of this Annex to the By-Laws is to list specific information about HOTRAK member Dues, Initiation Fee, and Operating Fees that are all subject to change.  The amounts shown may be amended by a simple majority of members attending the HOTRAK Annual General Meeting and/or a HOTRAK meeting called for the purpose of approving the Annual HOTRAK Budget.

HOTRAK Dues and Fees







Initiation Fee






Annual Dues






Operating Session Fee


$15.00 / Session

Maximum two per year

$10.00 / Session